By Pastor Vic Louie Pacaña
The Holy Spirit taught me a very valuable lesson during my trip last December to Tacloban City via Ormoc City. Amidst the sorrowful landscape of wrecked houses and snapped coconut trees caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda, I saw a farmer plowing his fields. The houses nearby were all in shambles, yet this farmer would not allow the situation around him to hinder what needs to get done for the season. It was the right time actually to prepare the fields for planting, and this wise and diligent farmer arose from the heartbreaking moment to prepare his fields.
The church goes through many storms, and sometimes we can get stuck in the heartbreaking moments and neglect what needs to be done for that season.
C.S. Lewis says, “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose.”
“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed…” so echoes Hudson Taylor.
Missions is not just about planting churches or spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. It means giving birth to another church that has this same mission to spread a passion for God. So instead of merely saying that we aim to plant a church, we say that we aim of “Planting a Passion for God” at a certain locality.
The aim is not just to plant a church, but to plant a strong, God-centered seedbed for spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.
Since our exposure to the Church Planting Movement Concept last 3-6 August 2010 at Marco Polo Hotel, Cebu City, we experienced a surge in our church planting endeavors for a year or two, but the zeal began to wane. As the essence of the Church planting movement rests primarily on the mobilizing of volunteer church members to plant churches, we revive our efforts on the training of new volunteers for church planting.
We began with reorganizing the evangelism program of our city church. Believing for the harvest must first begin with preparing for the planting. So we went back to the basics of evangelism. We gathered all willing members and enlisted them to our modified Evangelism Explosion Program. This program will take around 12-15 weeks, depending on the diligence of the trainee. With much excitement, the first batch of 29 volunteers has already grown to 40. We are expecting this number to double when the trainees reach midway of the program where they are expected to each enlist a trainee.
The excitement doesn’t just stop here at our city church, but it has also reached our barangay outstation churches. Our present volunteers who handle outstation churches have also implemented the same program on their barangay churches. Our full time church planters are also preparing their fields. Currently, Balingasag Section has 9 volunteers, and they are training 4 more workers to plant 2 churches this June. Malaybalay Section has 9 volunteer workers, and they are now training 3 additional workers to plant churches by July. Manticao Section has 10 volunteer workers, and now they are training 2 more volunteers to plant 2 churches by July. Lala Section has 10 volunteers, and they are training 5 volunteers to plant churches by June this year. Naawan Section has 12 volunteers, and they are training 3 more volunteers to plant church by June this year. The overall number of volunteers under Northern Mindanao Region is 113, and we are presently training 34 volunteers for our projected 10 churches to be planted this year.
Truly, the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. We need to mobilize our people to be involved in the harvest. It starts by preparing them. David Livingstone says “Sympathy is no substitute for action”. There is so much to be done for evangelism, but it can only be done if God’s people are available and willing to do it.